An immigrant from Egypt at a construction site in Milan | Credit: Dal Zennaro / ANSA
An immigrant from Egypt at a construction site in Milan | Credit: Dal Zennaro / ANSA

Immigrants working in Italy account for almost 9 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and pay 11.5 billion euros of social security contributions, according to a recent report.

The 2.4 million employed immigrants in Italy in 2016 produced 130 billion euros of added value, or 8.9 percent of GDP according to the 7th annual report on the immigration economy produced by the Fondazione Leone Moresss with assistance from the CGIA in Mestre and support from the IOM and the Italian foreign ministry. 

This puts Italy in 17th place among EU countries, ahead of Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. The economic contribution made by immigrants in Italy translates into 11.5 billion euros of social security contributions and 7.2 billion euros of income tax paid and over 570,000 companies owned by foreigners. 

Migrants indispensable part of workforce 

In a country such as Italy with an aging population, immigrants represent an 'indispensable' part of the workforce in many sectors. From a welfare standpoint, immigrant workers pay 11.5 billion euros in social security contributions and ensure a positive cash balance for state pensions institute INPS. The added value produced by immigrants is the equivalent of 130 million euros (8.9 percent of GDP). 

Differing types of jobs 

According to the 2017 edition of the report, Italians and foreigners do different jobs. Among immigrants, just 11 percent are graduates while among young Italians the percentage rises to 31 percent. Some professions are carried out almost exclusively by foreigners: 74 percent of domestic workers, 56 percent of carers and 52 percent of informal tradespeople are immigrants. 

Number of businesses run by immigrants continues to rise

Foreign companies have grown by 25.8 percent over the last five years to reach a total of 570,000 (9.4 percent of the total) and they produce 102 billion euros, or 6.9 percent, of added value. The number of Italian companies fell by 2.7 percent over the same period. Moroccans account for 11 percent and Chinese for 10 percent of foreign entrepreneurs, while the percentage from Bangladesh is on the rise. 

250 million migrants across the globe 

There are an estimated 250 million migrants globally of whom 65 million are forced. In 2016 there were 5 million regular immigrants in Italy. The largest percentages come from Romania, Albania and Morocco. Italy spends nearly 3 billion euros in development aid and remittances amounted to 5.1 billion euros in 2016, with a significant positive impact on the receiving country. According to 2015 data, remittances to Moldova account for 23.5 percent of GDP and to Senegal for 11 percent.

More articles